Watchdog praises Sheffield hospital standards

Glowing report: Northern General Hospital
Glowing report: Northern General Hospital
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SHEFFIELD’S Northern General Hospital has received a glowing report from the health watchdog - with inspectors praising standards of care, treatment and safety.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission paid an unannounced visit to four inpatient wards at the site in Fir Vale, and spoke to dozens of staff members and patients before reaching their verdict.

The newly-published report says patients felt satisfied with the hospital, and ‘felt well looked-after’.

Patients were also ‘protected from the risk of abuse’, the inspectors found.

But the hospital was not meeting the four-hour maximum wait time for people to be seen in accident and emergency, achieving a figure of just under 93 per cent against a national target of 95 per cent.

The report also said poor standards of privacy were seen on one geriatric ward, with personal care given to a patient in a bed bay area with the door and curtain left open.

Patients told inspectors they overheard staff talking about themselves, and the treatment of other people, on the same ward.

Many staff members were also unaware of the hospital’s policy on ‘whistleblowing’ for reporting wrongdoing at work.

Dr David Throssell, medical director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are committed to making sure our patients’ experience is as good as our clinical outcomes, and that compassion and respect is central to the care given to every patient. We were therefore very pleased to see the report reflected this and the unstinting dedication of our staff.

“Throughout the report, there are many examples of excellent practice on the part of our staff and very positive comments by our patients but we are always looking to improve further.

“Since the inspection we have launched a new internal awareness campaign to ensure staff know how they can raise any concerns they may have and we have also reinforced the importance of patient privacy to staff.”

Inspectors visited the hospital twice in December, first speaking to 14 patients and 28 workers, then returning to speak to senior staff.

They spent time on a geriatric and an orthopaedic ward and two medical assessment units.

“Each person was satisfied with their care and treatment,” the report said.

“People were complimentary about the staff and told us they felt well looked after. We observed respectful and positive interactions between staff and patients.”

One patient said they would give the hospital ‘10 out of 10’, while another described the nurses as ‘fabulous’.

Medical records were clear and properly completed, and resuscitation equipment was provided on each ward.

Work had also been done to reduce the number of accidents, such as placing people nearer to the staff reception area based on their risk of falling.

“We observed that people had a working call button within reach if they wanted to get the attention of staff,” the inspectors wrote.

“When we spoke to staff about how long it took staff to respond to the call bell, people told us they sometimes had to wait for a while, but understood staff were very busy and sometimes they were short of staff.”

The hospital is Sheffield’s largest, with over 1,100 beds.